Saturday, December 17, 2011

making wooden hinges...

Open, the wooden hinge is attractive.
Yesterday I made a prototype wooden hinge as a sample for the editors of Fine Woodworking. In order to keep articles coming through magazines I have to keep busy pitching proposals, and in this case, the editors wanted to actually see a box made with the technique I was describing to them. My idea is to write an article showing at least two ways in which wooden hinges can be made, and I know from teaching that wooden hinges always interest my students just as they will subscribers to Fine Woodworking Magazine.

The box shown in the photos is a "recipe box" made of black locust. The size is intended to offer the space required to hold recipe cards. The box is not finished. I will do additional sanding and apply a Danish oil finish.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

box making on Fine Woodworking...

It seems my face, hands, and jigs are all over the Fine Woodworking website these days. Check out the box making. One of things about box making is that you can use EVERY woodworking skill and technique, without investing as much in tools and by investing far less in materials costs. So what you could get from this in schools would be that every child regardless of academic objectives could have the opportunity to make something beautiful, useful and lasting from wood. A box. That could be the start of a revolution.

Think we ought to aim for that?

Jamie Oliver in his food revolution said that no child should graduate from high school without being able to prepare 10 healthy recipes. Most children can't prepare even one. I won't go so far as to say that each child must make 10 beautiful things, but will ask for at least one. But don't think for a minute that many schools will get it. They are under such pressure to meet other standards.

So the revolution ins up to you.

make, fix and create...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

new method for miter key placement

You may know that I love discovering new things, and today I needed to make a new jig for cutting miter key slots in the corners of boxes. While making the new jig, as shown in the photo, I also discovered a new way to easily position boxes on the jig, by using measured blocks between the box and the slide that fits in the miter gauge slot. It is easier now for me than ever before, easy to repeat set-ups using the same blocks, and it will be a treat to share this new technique with my summer classes at the Kansas City Woodworker's Guild, ESSA and Marc Adams School of Woodworking. This new technique also eliminates the need for clamps and clamping stop blocks in place on the jig. If I make box making any easier for my students, it may take all the challenge out of it and they may have to turn to making small cabinets to keep their growth of skill challenged. The photo shows the new jig, box with miter key slots complete, and the 4 blocks used to position the cuts. The three thicker blocks position the height of the cut from the top of the box, and the thin block is used to raise the box so that the blade will not go as deep on the adjoining cuts.

Make, fix and create.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

making a dovetail marking template

I am planning to have my students do a unit in box making, so I am preparing the tools needed. The first thing is a simple jig for marking out dovetail pins as shown in the drawing above. The steps in making this are shown in the series of photos below. No doubt you have seen similar tools made of brass. These are what you can do when you need several and would rather spend your money on other things. Because the ends are 90 degrees, they can also be used for marking the other lines necessary for cutting dovetails. And it is so much more fun to make things yourself. No shopping on-line, no credit card required, no waiting for the UPS truck to arrive, and you have the fun and satisfaction of having made something yourself.
Tilt the sawblade to 8 degrees and cut the dovetail shape.

Return the blade to 90 degrees and remove the stock between the angled cuts
Make a cut with the blade height set at 3/8 in.

Set the fence 1/8 in. from the blade and rip to finish forming the template.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

boxes from readers

Every once in awhile, I am contacted by readers with boxes to share. The tea box ws made by John Gasser for his Daughter-in Law, and you can see from her reaction that the box is a success. The Pin and Earring chest was made by Les Riddell.

I had the following question about wood movement:
I have constructed a small jewelry box recently and have some wood movement concerns. The box is 11” wide (the front and back), 6” deep (the sides), and 5.5” high and is made of 1/2” cherry. The grain runs in the same direction for all of the panels. The sides have vertical rabbets on each side  of 1/4“ depth and 1/2” width. For the bottom, I cut rabbets of 1/4“ depth and 1/2” on all four sides.

I am worried that the wood on the bottom and top of the box will expand enough the sides or front/back. I live in the Boston area, so there is some summer humidity, but it’s not like I’m sending the box to south Florida. Should I be concerned?
Wood will almost always expand and contract, even when you have heated and air conditioned space. It will not expand or contract any significant amount in length. My rule of thumb is to allow for both expansion and contraction, with the expansion often being the more destructive effect, pushing parts apart at the corners. So I generally allow 1/32 to 1/16 in. expansion space per 8 inches of board width. This can vary some by species and will vary more dependent on the condition of the materials and their storage and working conditions with regard to humidity. If your storage and working conditions are on the moist side, or during the moist season, build looser than you would be inclined during the driest of conditions. You can take each board as a science experiment, worthy of investing a great deal of time, or knowing what wood does, just take your best shot. You will get more done if you take your best shot.